Council OKs lower dumping fees | News
From Marlene Feist, public affairs office for the city of Spokane:
The Spokane City Council tonight approved a $9 per-ton fee reduction for garbage brought to the Waste-to-Energy Facility and transfer stations operated by the Spokane Regional Solid Waste System.
The new tipping fees ultimately will lead to lower costs for residents who have curbside garbage pickup, including all residents within the City of Spokane. The City’s Solid Waste Management utility did not increase rates for 2013, in part in anticipation of lower tipping fees and despite the implementation of the new single-stream recycling system that required significant investments in new recycling carts and automated trucks. The Spokane County Commission approved the new fees last week.
“We are working to maintain efficient operations and keep costs low for our customers,” says Ken Gimpel, Business Director for the Spokane Regional Solid Waste System. “This is the first time these disposal rates have been reduced in the 25 years since the Waste-to-Energy Facility came on line.”
Under the new rates, which will take effect May 1, commercial haulers and individual self-haulers will pay $98 a ton to dispose of garbage at the Waste-to-Energy facility, down from $107. At the transfer stations, the cost will be $103 a ton, down from $112.
The rate proposal also adjusts the minimum fees for bringing garbage to the transfer stations or Waste-to-Energy Facility. The new minimum charge will be $15 for the first 300 pounds of trash, compared to $7 for the first 120 pounds. This change helps to cover the cost of managing small loads at these facilities.
Some County residents who self-haul their trash to one of the facilities may benefit from using a weekly home garbage service or by bringing in trash when they have accumulated a larger load, Gimpel says.
The Spokane Regional Solid Waste System manages disposal of all the waste generated in Spokane County. The System was created by interlocal agreement in 1998 and is managed as a department of the City of Spokane.
The City has been working to keep utility rates affordable for its citizens. For 2013, the City limited utility rate increases to 3.5 percent in water and wastewater and held solid waste collection rates flat.
Additionally, with the implementation of the new single-stream recycling program, many utility customers have been able to reduce their bills by reducing the size of their garbage carts. Some 2,500 customers have selected smaller carts since the new recycling program began.
Single-stream recycling allows for many more products to be recycled, including nearly all plastics, cereal and cracker boxes, office paper, and junk mail—in addition to all of the items that were recyclable at the curb before. In the first two months of the program, City Solid Waste Management Department about doubled their recycling volumes.